How to tackle food waste for a more sustainable future

Health & Nutrition 04/29/2020

4min read

Talking Nutrition Editors

Supporting Stop Food Waste Day

  • Food waste is a global challenge that has a wide-reaching social, economic and environmental impact. One third — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted every year.1,2,3 If just 25% of all the food currently lost or wasted was saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million people.4
  • By 2050, world food consumption is expected to grow by 70%.5 DSM strives to raise awareness of the growing food waste problem and offers solutions that increase the shelf life of food, help reduce food waste and ultimately, feed growing populations worldwide.
  • Stop Food Waste Day on April 29th aims to draw attention to the food waste epidemic and share creative and impactful solutions. Beside solutions, tackling food waste starts at home where each one of us can make a difference. Therefore, we’ve put together a handy recipe booklet to help avoid leftovers and potential food waste.

The global food waste challenge

Food waste is a global epidemic and it has worrying social, economic and environmental consequences. A third — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — of all food produced for human consumption is wasted every year, which equates to US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries.6,7 Stop Food Waste Day, which takes place on April 29th, aims to draw attention to the food waste issue and raise awareness of solutions that can help tackle the problem, through changing how food is produced, bought, stored and consumed.

The statistics around food waste are staggering. If 25% of the food currently lost or wasted was saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people. By 2050, world food consumption is expected to grow by 70%.8 With these extra mouths to feed, sustainability across the global food supply chain is critical to ensuring healthy diets and adequate nutrition for all.

A naturally effective solution

Spoilage is one of the main causes of food waste and there are three main types of spoilage that can occur; physical, microbial and chemical. Physical spoilage can include bruising or the loss or gain of water, microbial spoilage involves the damage of food through bacteria, mold or yeast and chemical spoilage, also called oxidation, relates to loss of hydrogen, loss of electrons and the gaining of oxygen. The oxidation process changes the sensory properties of food, impacting taste, color and smell. Spoilage compounds food waste further because just one spoiled ingredient, such as salami on a pizza, can result in the whole product being thrown away.

Prolonging the shelf life is an important step in reducing food waste but, with the move towards more natural ingredients, consumers are increasingly looking for foods that are free from chemical preservatives. DSM has a broad portfolio of antioxidants and bio-preservatives that help to increase shelf life in a natural and consumer-friendly way.

Taking a closer look at antioxidants

Tocopherol (vitamin E), mixed tocopherols (natural vitamin E) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) are all antioxidants that reduce and slow down the chemical spoilage of food, helping to increase shelf life and reduce food waste. Each food type requires a customized quantity and combination of ingredients to reduce oxidation. By measuring the antioxidants naturally present in the raw ingredients used to manufacture food products, DSM builds the antioxidant system based on those ratios, and adivses on the required amount to add, to ensure an optimal shelf life. This process helps food producers save time and money in getting products to market.

Why sustainability matters

Food waste also has significant environmental consequences. In fact, if food waste were a country it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emission producing country in the world.9 DSM actively works to lower the environmental footprint of its activities and has successfully reduced the greenhouse gas emissions of its operations. This is especially the case for the manufacturing of tocopherol and ascorbic acid where DSM has achieved a significant reduction in carbon footprint, providing customers with a solution that delivers against science-backed sustainability targets and has the lowest carbon footprint on the market.

On a global scale, the public and industry can work together. Ingredient and food manufacturers can collaborate to develop appealing, sustainable products that stay fresh for longer, while also raising awareness amongst consumers of the importance of reducing food waste to protect the planet’s limited natural resources and feed a growing global population.

Stop food waste with a good taste – let’s make it personal

Reducing food waste is everyone’s responsibility. There are simple things we all can do – starting in our own kitchens – to help reduce food waste. Our booklet provides handy hints and tips that encourage to carefully consider how to store food it in the best way in order to prevent waste and serve the right amount to avoid leftovers that may potentially be thrown away.

The booklet also includes a range of recipes that use up leftover food in delicious meals, helping to reduce food waste and allowing us all to make a positive contribution towards a more sustainable future for the global food economy.

DSM’s naturally-sourced solutions and expert services make us the ideal partner to achieve longer shelf life in an effective and consumer-friendly way. Contact us to explore how we can help your business.

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Tags: FOOD AND BEVERAGEANTIOXIDANTS SHELF-LIFEHEALTH & NUTRITIONMARKETING
References

[1] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Food Loss and Food Waste, http://www.fao.org/food-loss-and-food-waste/en/

[2] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, http://www.fao.org/3/a-i2697e.pdf

[3] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, https://twosides.info/includes/files/upload/files/UK/Myths_and_Facts_2016_Sources/18-19/Key_facts_on_food_loss_and_waste_you_should_know-FAO_2016.pdf

[4] Ibid. 

[5] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Global agriculture towards 2050, http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/wsfs/docs/Issues_papers/HLEF2050_Global_Agriculture.pdf

[6] FAO report, http://www.fao.org/food-loss-and-food-waste/en/

[7] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, https://twosides.info/includes/files/upload/files/UK/Myths_and_Facts_2016_Sources/18-19/Key_facts_on_food_loss_and_waste_you_should_know-FAO_2016.pdf

[8] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Global agriculture towards 2050, http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/wsfs/docs/Issues_papers/HLEF2050_Global_Agriculture.pdf

[9] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, https://twosides.info/includes/files/upload/files/UK/Myths_and_Facts_2016_Sources/18-19/Key_facts_on_food_loss_and_waste_you_should_know-FAO_2016.pdf

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